I've written before about body image, and I will continue to over the course of my life and this blog. I've given a lengthy explanation/recitation of my experience with weight gain and loss and how that has effected my psyche.
I have always been very weight conscious. I was never really overweight, but like most teenage girls, I never felt like I was skinny enough, had a flat enough stomach, a nice enough ass, etc. I was always self conscious when I'd have to wear a swimsuit, so I mostly avoided going swimming. It was just easier to back out of swimming than be paranoid that people would look at me and think I was unattractive.
When I started dating my husband, I was around 125-130. A very good weight for my height. I thought I was pudgy.
I have this amazingly support group of moms on Facebook. The group started at a TTC (trying to conceive) spin off from a discussion board on What to Expects website. These are the same wonderful women that helped me cope with our miscarriage, accept the loss without blaming myself. We went through pregnancies together, share complaints and concerns throughout those long 9 months. They were with me through my labor, and helped me be ok with my unexpected "emergency" c-section. They even offered advice and suggestions when it came to breastfeeding, cloth diapers, sleep training. I have become very close with these women over the course of the last few years. So, when I didn't know what to do about my level of discomfort with my own body, I turned to them. I got a LOT of suggestions on what worked for them and I tried a few of them, ultimately finding and falling in love with Briana Christine of Bikini Body Mommy.
She has 5 different 90 day challenges, meal plans, recipes, coaching series, maintenance series, and now even a pregnancy series to help you get fit and healthy in the comfort of your own home. The best part? All of the 90 day challenges are 100% free. If you opt for a membership (for the other workout programs) it's $2 a month. When I started, I thought "can't hurt anything. It's free." I lost 30 pounds.
In January, when I found I was pregnant again, I was still up 20 from my pre-pregnancy weight with Connor, and ultimately 30 pounds heavier than my goal. I started her pregnancy series, but I had to stop because literally every move made me want to throw up. Instead, I just watched what I ate (more fruit, less treats) and I made a point to drink at least 64 (ideally 96) ounces of water everyday.
I am 29 weeks pregnant today. 11 to go. I've gained a grand total of 12.3 pounds. At the rate I'm currently going, I will only gain another 7 pounds by the end of this. In case you were wondering, that will put me at 10 pounds lighter on Kylar's birthday than I was on Connor's. My plan is to get back in the 130s by my 30th birthday, next year July.
Why am I telling you all of this? Why did I just spend the last 30 minutes typing out all of my weight concerns and sharing all of this overly personal information that women tend to hide and get offended about? Because I'm sick of being upset about how big I am. I'm sick of thinking there is some ideal size or that I "should" look a certain way. Here's the thing: I make people. I have, with the help of my wonderful husband, created life within my body. My body is fucking magical. I should treat it with more respect. Instead of looking at my stomach and seeing flab, I now see the starting point of our boys. I see stretch marks and think "hell yeah!"
I'm sharing all of this with all of you in the hopes that you will see my journey and know that everyone has something about themselves that they don't like. The question is this: are you going to let that thing hold you back or are you going to take it, claim it, and make yourself better for it?
I will start a mini side-blog on here covering my fitness journey once I get cleared by my doctor to start working out. I will be using Briana Christine's Bikini Body Mommy workouts and meal plans and I will get back to the 130s. Not because society says that's what size I should be (according to society, I should be 120), but because that's a healthy weight for me, as determined by doctors. I will work hard and I will get fit for my boys. The goal is to be healthy, not skinny. That should always be your goal. I need to be able to keep up with my boys and I know working out and getting fit will enable that to be my reality.
I've seen a lot of stories, articles, news segments about women and body image. So many get skinny quick, get your pre-baby body back in 3 months, weight watchers, crossfit, and on and on and on...
Wtf. I refuse to see myself as fat. I refuse. I created a human being. My body has dramatically changed. My boobs deflated and sag, my stomach has a crazy amount of stretch marks and it sags too. I have stretch marks on my thighs, back, boobs... Do you know what all that means? I'm a fucking badass.
Kudos to all those moms who worked their asses off and tightened their body's back up, post baby. I seriously applaud you women. I just hope your motives were your own and nor because of what celebrity moms have done, or because of how amazing TV moms look. I hope you did it for you.
Today, I saw a news article that made my day. A mom, in Boise (I think), stood on the street, blindfolded and in her underwear, or a bikini, and let people write on her with markers. The point was to provide perspective on what is really beautiful. I love that idea. I commend that woman. I've heard of other women doing a similar, but this was the first time I saw it in the news. Way to go, momma!
I'm not saying we should all stand around in our underwear, but damn. Can we please stop idolizing the unrealistic and find beauty in what is real?
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community